Baltimore Orioles’ center fielder Adam Jones has won the 2015 Marvin Miller Man of the Year award for Major League Baseball. This is a very prestigious award that is part of the Player’s Choice Awards annually. It goes to the player who most inspires others through on-field performances and community contributions.
Courtesy of Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
The award will officially be given to Jones this evening during the MLB Player’s Choice Awards. I would submit that there’s no player league-wide who deserves a recognition like this more than Jones. He was a fan favorite both on the field and in the community almost from the moment he arrived in town in 2008. Whether it’s helping out with the Boys and Girls Club of Baltimore, the RBI Program, the YMCA, or any of the numerous other charities with which he participates in the area, Adam Jones is a guy who does a lot for the local community.
And I would say that baseball and sports in general needs more people of his character. So often we’re led to see athletes as money-hungry people who play a sport for a living and are lost in their own lives when they aren’t competing. That may be true of some athletes, but not Adam Jones. Jones is almost a total throwback to previous generations of sports figures, who not only do things to serve the community in which they play, but also live there. Up until about 20 years ago or so, it used to be commonplace for athletes to move full time to the cities in which they were playing – not so any longer for the most part.
Not that it truly matters where someone lives, or that fans should really care about that type of thing too much. (Heck, if I had the opportunity to live in a place like Florida or Arizona full time, I might jump at it also!) But maybe they do care to a certain point. Jones has as much a stake in the well-being of the community and the people here as everyone else, and that should register with fans. He took a leadership role during the riots back in April, which shows that he cares.
And incidentally it’s not just athletes who should look to the likes of Adam Jones for inspiration in terms of playing a role in the community. Maybe the world would be a better place if people in general took a more active role in the cities and towns in which they live and work. And that starts with me. We all go about our lives on a daily basis as if we’re paramount in the universe, but in reality there are people who have much more pressing and important needs than do we. Adam Jones gets that – and that’s why he’s the Marvin Miller Man of the Year.
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Jones will receive $50,000 to donate to a charity of his choice along with the award. He has chosen the Boys and Girls Club of San Diego for that grant. For the record, Jones himself is a veteran of that program in that city (his hometown), which presumably is why he chose to send the money there as opposed to a Baltimore or Maryland-based charity. And it’s also the reason why he’s so active in the Boys and Girls Club of Baltimore right here locally.
There are plenty of deserving players out there for lots of different awards, but I for one am glad to see Adam Jones getting the recognition he deserves in this regard. And neither Jones or any other player will tell you that they do work in the community for recognition. They do it because it’s the right thing to do.